Little background In this presentation we offer some of the results of a foresight study on serious games Study was initiated by STT, a not for profit organisation that carries out foresight studies on all sorts of subjects Common ground: they all deal with trends in technology and their impact on society I’m the project manager for the foresight study on serious games Foresight study consisted over several projects, each focussing on different aspects or target groups of serious gaming One of these projects focussed on the opportunities that gaming have to offer to senior citizens Current forms of gaming, but real interest has been in what the next generation of games, serious games, has to offer To carry out this project, a team was formed People coming from very different backgrounds, but all of them interested in the combination games and senior citizens Sabine, head of the Healthcare Programme at Waag Society, was a member of that team
Today we focus on games and the elderly If you want to learn more about that project Or if you are interested in the overall foresight study on serious Please go to
Why focus games and senior citizens? At first sight: one of the least likely combinations Look at little closer: not the case If you look at the gaming population, senior citizens are doing quite well Research has show that in the Netherlands some 60 percent of the people at the age 50 or older, frequently play games In the US: senior citizens constitute 25% of the total gaming population What is more: if senior citizens play video games, often quite fanatic, meaning that they devote quite some time to it Researchers expect that more senior citizens will play games in the future, and that they will invest even more time than they do now We are not just talking entertainment games anymore In the senior citizens games market, much is expected from games that somehow contribute to the players health Exergames, games that contribute to physical wellbeing Braintraining, games that help keep the brain fit Social games, games that invite the elderly to maintain an active social life In other words, games to help senior citizens to age in a healthy way In our project, we wanted to think through the opportunities that these healthy ageing games offer And not just todays games, but also take into account promising trends and try to envision the what the future could bring To this end, we did some desk research, we organised a number of workshops and a symposium, we talked to a lot of experts Results
Results of this study can be found in this book In Dutch If you’d like a copy, please find me Results then Sabine
Some highlights, what have we found: ‘ More than a patient’ As you get older, you get treated like an old person Exercise more, challenge yourself mentally, make sure to stay in touch with your friends This is important, because from here it is down hill Games appear to be very effective in getting senior citizens to do what is good for them, but without the stigma In other words, games are attractive ways of ´hiding´ all sorts of healthy aging goals No more boring exercises that you do because you realise you really should do them Instead, you play a nice game, and underneath the surface, without even noticing it, you do what is good for you Games can serve as stepping stone (self-efficacy) Another advantage of well designed games is that they offer the opportunity for senior citizens to familiarize themselves with computer technology that they would otherwise steer away from Gaming can be a way of literally becoming less scared of a computer mouse After which the elderly gamer can explore different form of computer use, such as using the internet or chatting Gaming can increase the self - efficacy of senior citizens in other words, meaning that games can make them more confident in their interaction with computer, and with technology in general ‘ Non-social’ games serve important social functions Quite often, serious games for senior citizens are physical exercise games In this picture, maintaining and increasing muscle strength of the legs Research shows that it works Legs do become stronger What is even more interesting is that introducing game installations like these in nursing homes attract a lot of bystanders People start cheering, supporting each other, challenging each other even As such, the game gives the people something to talk about, a shared experience It gives people an excuse almost, to gather and socially connect Games designers have learned about this phenomenon and are actually designing games and game environments with that social function in mind Designing games that are no longer just physical exercising games, but that actively take into account the opportunities that games create for promoting social interaction This is where game designers become interaction designers
For the future Increasing familiarity with games (as medium) No shock For young people, games are a part of life. Over 90 percent of children frequently play games These kids will grow older too Being accustomed to the medium, acceptance of games will hardly be an issue Better, more intuitive interfaces What is more: games will become much easier to play in the future Slowly but surely moving away from difficult controlers, with loads of buttons We’re already witnessing more intuitive controllers, like motion control In which your body is the controller Expect much more on that front Senior citizens will benefit significantly from more user friendly interfaces
In 2011 impossible to talk about the future of serious games and not talk about gamification In short: gamefication is the process of applying successful gaming practices to everyday life The idea is very simple: if game designers are able to engage millions of players for long periods of time, they must be doing something right Game designers know how to motivate people to do something, they know how to make people compete or cooperate, they know how to reward people Gamification is applying that knowledge to the world beyond games as we know them That makes gamification a tool for getting people to change their behaviour Example: piano stairs in the stockholm subway station If you take boring, ordinary stairs and you turn them into a piano that actually makes sound You’ll find that people start using the piano stairs, rather than the escalator It is fun: you are no longer taking the stairs, you are playing a giant piano It is a clever way of getting people to change their behaviour, and do more exercise Invisible games When you explore the opportunities of gamification for senior citizens, it has two great advantages: 1) As said, almost nobody likes to do exercises, just because it is good for you. Gamification is ideal for hiding, covering the exercises. At some point, as part of your daily routine, you have to catch a train. And when you do, you are persuaded to take the stairs rather then escalator. The gamified stairs make the good thing to do the fun thing to do 2) Because the game is hidden, because the game is integrated in your everyday environment, there is no need to actively and consciously start playing a game. You just live you life and the game runs in the background, persuading you to take the stair is in this case. For a lot of senior citizens that is a major advantage. Not many senior citizen consider themselves gamers. Which means they miss out on the many advantages of games. Gamification is a way of letting non-gamers benefit from the advantages of gaming. Concept driven The fun thing about gamification is that it doesn’t depend too much on technology Gamification is about seeing things from a different perspective Looking for opportunities to approach life as we know in a more playful way So it is concept driven rather than technology driven Better use of existing infrastructures And because of that, gamification offers opportunities to make better use of infrastructures that are already there Take motion detections systems Motion sensors can serve an important role in the lives of senior citizens If no motion is detected for a long time, it could mean that someone has fallen for instance and is unable to move. That gives motion sensors a bit of a creepy reputation. They here to check on me, to see if I’m still alive But those same sensors can be used in a more playful way. If sensors can register movement, you can use them in a game, that is about promoting physical exercise in the house A game that triggers you to go up the stairs at least three times a day, for example Same sensors, different, less creepy function.
My name is Sabine Wildevuur. I am head of the Creative Care Lab at Waag Society, which is an Institute for Art, Science and Technology, based here in Amsterdam. One of our locations is just a bit upstream in one of the old wharehouses called Pakhuis de Zwijger. And we are also situated in the one of the oldest buidings of Amsterdam, the Waag at the Nieuwmarkt. Serious gaming is one of the field we are focusing on within the Creative Care Lab.
As member of Jacco’s team we started the foresight on serious gaming with brainstorming. What should we focus on? For the foresight we chose to have a date in mind which was not too far away so it does not become science-fiction. Neither too close cause it has to be a foresight. So, 2025 it was. When we started – around two years ago - our first meetings were actually about narrowing down the topic of the exploration. Where did we foresee the biggest changes, or the greatest possibilitie within serious gaming? We brainstormed, clustered our ideas. These are the post-its, which survived the brainstorming sessions. Chronic diseases were mentioned, so were prevention, technologies like augmented reality and mobile Health. But also loneliness, social isolation. Based on the demographic facts, we decided to focus on senior citizens.
If we look at the generation of seniors to come in the year 2025, we expect them to be different than the seniors nowadays (and with seniors we refer to people of 65+). When we look at the seniors of the future, we are actually looking at the people around 50 years of age now. Life expectancy of men and women will increase, for men even more than women. The difference was 7 years, it is is now around 5 years and this will decrease even more. Life expectancy in years of age will increase from 78,8 to 84,5 years for men, and from 82,7 to 87,4 for women. Now the stereotype image of a single senior person is that of a woman. In the future there will be more men living alone, and more Living apart together realtionships than ever before
The life expectancy of women with a high education is 8 year more than with a low eduaction. With these demographic changes in mind, the great challenge of the future is how we can prevent a gap between social participation and loneliness? We know it is crucial that people maintain their social relationships throughout there life, which professor Jenny Gierveld calls a convoy. This is where social media steps in, but also serious games.
When looking at serious games for elderly, the segmentation follows serious games for health. At the conference there are special tracks on cognitive and mental health, rehabiltation, exergaming, simulation. We will zoom in on social well-being.
Research shows people who are lonely and socially disconnected do have an creasing risk for developing chronic diseases, depression etc. Connecting people is a multi billion industry today made possible by ICT. E-mail services, mobile phones, social media etc. is some of the fastest growing businesses. We looked at serious gaming as a tool to improve connectedness amongst elderly people. Within the European Joint Programme of Ambient Assisted Living, which is looking for solutions to help elderly people stay longer independently at their own homes with the help of technology, one of the programmes addresses the overall European challenge of preventing loneliness and isolation amongst senior people. The oldest part of the population is at particular risk of becoming isolated and lonely as they grow older and their work-related networks erode. We designed and developed an innovative ‘preventive social technology’, as we coined it, called Play with your life! We did this by involving seniors in four different countries, namely The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Sweden
Play with your life is a storytelling game, developed for a tablet (iPad and others) that uses audiovisual material and photographs in a game play. The content is derived from events from our collective history (a royal wedding, a famous TV show) and personal events (graduation, family holidays and so forth). The players add the personal material themselves. Collective material is added through social media such as Google images, Facebook, Flickr etc.
This is a drawing by the Nobel prize winner in Physiology or Medicine in 1906 Santiago Ramon y Cajal for his study with Colgi on the structure of the nervous system. In that time the development of the brain was thought of as something which is ‘done’ at a certain age. However, we do know now that the plasticity of the brain is larger than we expected. Training helps in keeping the body and the brain active. And not only brain trainers. More and more studies show that people who are physically active, have less chance of developing dementia or cognitive problems at an older age. Even when you start exercising at a later age. A lot of scientists are working very hard to prove this relationship significantly. However, one thing is for sure: Not being physically active is disastrous for the brain. (Laura Eggermont: The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, dept of Clinical Neuropsychology, is doing research in the field of the relationship between exercising and brain functions. We also know that there need to be in change how elderly citizens are sometimes treated. For example, senior people in a nursing home with behavioral problems (agressive bahaviour etc) are sometimes being demobilized because of lack of personnel. This actually works contraproductive. We need to mobilize those people to improve their mental wellbeing. We need to find new ways to mobilize these people. Could serious gaming provide a solution perhaps?
Gfhe 111021 presentation-sw-sabine wildevuur and jacco van uden-17 okt
Play on: Serious Games for Elderly Citizens Sabine Wildevuur (Waag Society) Jacco van Uden (STT) Games for Health Europe Amsterdam, October 24-25, 2011
SERIOUS GAMES for SENIOR CITIZENS <ul><li>- Catching up quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Avid players </li></ul><ul><li>Rise of Health Games </li></ul><ul><li>Healthy Ageing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mental </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social </li></ul></ul>
GAMES AND SENIOR CITIZENS: GENERAL OBSERVATIONS (1) <ul><li>‘ More than a old person’ </li></ul><ul><li>Games can serve as stepping stone (self-efficacy) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Non-social’ games serve important social functions </li></ul>
GAMES AND SENIOR CITIZENS: TRENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES (1) <ul><li>Increasing familiarity with games (as medium) </li></ul><ul><li>Better, more intuitive interfaces </li></ul>
GAMES AND SENIOR CITIZENS: TRENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES (2) <ul><li>Gamification: applying succesful game practices to everyday life </li></ul><ul><li>Invisible exercising / gaming </li></ul><ul><li>Concept driven </li></ul><ul><li>Better use of existing </li></ul><ul><li>infrastructures </li></ul>